Erol Alkan: London calls in

10 Feb

London DJ and producer Erol Alkan is hitting Australia for the very first time to play at Parklife this weekend. Probably best known for his remix of Waters of Nazareth by Justice, he’s one of the world’s most sought-after producers.

Whether it be his latest remix of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Zero, his collaborations with Boys Noize or his role producing UK ‘it’ bands like Late of the Pier and Mystery Jets, everything he touches might not turn to gold, but you know it will definitely be cool.

When I chat to the charming and softly spoken Alkan on the phone from London, he is buzzing because he has just seen Blur play a two-hour set.

“It’s just incredible the breadth of their catalogue and how many incredible songs they’ve got,” he says. “I was thinking as I walked out that wasn’t it strange people had Blur and Oasis pitted against each, given one of their best songs was taken from their seventh album; when they play Out of Time you just melt. I think their songwriting has a great charm about it that hasn’t dated.”

Alkan has two projects in the works. While he DJs and produces under his own name, he’s also under the guise of Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve, a project with Richard Norris, who describes their remixes as re-animations – essentially turning existing tracks into psychedelic, folk and Balearic beats. Check out their reworking of Franz Ferdinand’s Ulysses.

Alkan didn’t want it to get out that he was the man behind the project and he explains his disappointment over a UK magazine exposing him.

“For me personally, every time I do something new, I just want the music to carry the weight of it really, not the people involved. It annoys me when the media just don’t allow that. I understand they need to cover it but I think it’s a bit demoralising when you want to do something fresh and different.

“There’s always someone somewhere with a big nose that knows,” he laughs. “I guess I just want people to discover something for themselves. It’s not like I’m releasing music in a format that’s not accessible or in areas that people wouldn’t know. You just don’t want people to like it or dismiss it purely on who’s involved.”

[As published in The Wire, The West Australian, Issue 18, 24.09.09]

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